Local restaurant and Virginia Beach non-profit team up to provide help for Haiti

MP Island Cafe Haiti relief.jpg
Haiti Earthquake
Posted at 2:28 PM, Aug 20, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - The death toll for the earthquake last week in Haiti is now more than 1,900. UNICEF estimates 1.2 million people were impacted, including more than a half a million children.

Help is pouring in - even from thousands of miles away, here in Hampton Roads - to help towns left to rubble.

MP Island Cafe in Norfolk was jamming on Friday afternoon with those looking to get a taste of the islands. But off in the corner, many noticed a big, blue bin.

"So, when I heard about the earthquake, I went straight into disaster relief mode - sending emails and texts to friends and partners in ministry relief. I knew we needed to do something," said Calherbe Monel of Virginia Beach.

Monel was born and raised in Haiti, but he now runs a non-profit out of Virginia Beach called Christians United for Haiti. The non-profit has been helping Haitians with humanitarian relief, starting up small businesses and helping build schools and roads since 2007.

"In 2010, we were there 12 days after that earthquake. We flew from Norfolk," said Monel.

That earthquake left more than 200,000 residents dead, so Monel said it was a no-brainer that he step up once again to help those devastated by the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the island.

"Sunday afternoon, they were hit by Tropical Storm Grace, so people were under the rain Sunday through Tuesday with no tarps, no tents, no clothing and they couldn't go in their homes, of course, " he said.

Last week, he teamed up with the owners of MP Island Cafe, hoping those stopping in for a bite will also donate some relief items to Haitians in need in the bins provided.

"We really need tarps, tents and generators so they can have a little bit of shelter," he said.

Medical supplies are also at the top of the donation list for the close to 10,000 people who are injured.

Related: NSU grad from Haiti discusses devastating earthquake, loss of two relatives

"This is a small effort, and we are also calling on anyone else to help us," said Monel.

The blue bins will be at MP Island Cafe in Norfolk, and their Portsmouth location for the next few weeks. You can also donate to their GoFundMe.